In late 1944, under rather mysterious circumstances, aspiring writer Jack Kerouac lost a novella-length manuscript titled The Haunted Life. Set in Galloway, a fictionalized version of Kerouac's hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts, the coming-of-age story of Peter Martina character based on the author's recently departed friend Sebastian Sampastackles the pressing issues of the day.
At home in the working-class town the summer before his sophomore year at Boston College, Peter finds himself conflicted. Like many Americans, Peter is unsure, suspended between the economic crisis of the previous decade and the impending US entry into World War II. In The Haunted Life, Peter struggles to define what he believes to be intellectually true and worthy of his life and talents.
Skillfully edited by Todd F. Tietchen, assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell,The Haunted Life is rounded out by sketches, notes, and reflections Kerouac kept during the novella's composition as well as a revealing selection of correspondence with his father, Leo.